One way to understand human governance is to ask the question “who matters?” More than “who has the power”, the question of “who matters?” defines the form and practice of governmental systems. Fascist and corporate oligarchy systems say that corporations matter. Feudal systems say that the nobility and professed loyalties matter. Communist systems say that organized collectives matter. Dictatorship defines who matters as the ruler and those who support them. A true Democracy says that everyone matters, but such has never existed. What we have called democracy has always defined who matters by race, citizenship, gender identification, and class… although usually that is synthesized into some image of the ideal citizen that you either resemble or don’t.
Defining “who matters” is the struggle at the core of humanity and our societal relationships with one another. Every revolution has been about who matters. Every oppression is about defining who does, and who does not matter. Who matters is at the heart of many religions.
The call I hear within the Black Lives Matter movement is not just a call to end the practice of police killing unarmed black people. It is a challenge to the ways the governance of the United States has defined those “who matter” as being white. It is a challenge to change the foundational theory of the governance of our country.
A challenge whose time has long since come.